Do Bats Hold the Secret to Long Life?
Bats are the only mammals that can fly a great distance, but they have another ability. Many bats live a very long time for an animal their size.
European researchers are studying bats to understand why they live so long. They hope to make discoveries aimed at fighting the aging process in human beings.
Last week, the group of scientists said they had identified important biological qualities in some bat species.
The group studied bat chromosomes, a line of genes found in the nucleus of cells. The scientists were most interested in structures connected to the ends of the chromosomes. They are called telomeres.
Telomeres protect the ends of chromosomes, which shorten each time a cell divides. Scientists believe this shortening process causes cells to break down. They say this is what causes aging.
A report on bats was published this month in the journal Science Advances.
Among the leaders of the study was Emma Teeling, a biologist with University College Dublin in Ireland.
Teeling said studying long-living mammals that have developed ways to fight aging "is an alternative way to identify the molecular basis of extended ‘health spans.'"
She added that studying bats enables scientists to learn more about the processes "that drive healthy aging."
The European researchers studied 493 bats from four bat species. The group used information that had been gathered over more than 60 years.
Of these animals, the greater mouse-eared bat generally lived the longest, an average of 37 years.
The scientists said this and a related species, which are grouped together under the name Myotis, had telomeres that did not shorten with age.
Another Myotis bat holds the record for oldest age, reaching 41 years.
The scientists' findings suggest that these bats' cells have the ability to maintain and repair their telomeres. This, they said, helps guard against the aging process.
Based on its body size, a bat like the greater mouse-eared bat would be expected to live four years. But, these mammals have been found to live nearly 10 times longer than that.
The scientists found that only 19 species of mammals live longer than humans when their body size is considered. Eighteen of these are bats. The only exception is an unusual African rodent, the naked mole rat.
I'm Mario Ritter.
1.human beings 人类
All human beings are much more intelligent than animals.
2.bat species 蝙蝠物种
Despite the tiny eyes and nocturnal lifestyle, none of the roughly 1,100 bat species are blind.
3.body size 体型
They have the largest ears in relation to body size of any cat.
4.an average of 平均
The boats remain at sea for an average of ten days at a time.
5.Scientists believe this shortening process causes cells to break down.
break down 分解；发生故障；破裂
Their car broke down.
Talks with business leaders broke down last night.
6.The group studied bat chromosomes, a line of genes found in the nucleus of cells.
a line of 一系列；一连串
The trees cast a line of long shadows.
A line of trees fringed the pool.
蝙蝠是唯一可长距离飞行的哺乳动物，但是它们还有一种能力 。对于同样体型的动物来说，许多蝙蝠的寿命较长 。
欧洲研究人员正在研究蝙蝠，探索它们长寿的秘诀 。他们希望能在对抗人类衰老的过程中有所发现 。
科学家们研究了蝙蝠的染色体，这是细胞核中发现的一组基因 。科学家们对连接染色体末端的结构最感兴趣，这一结构被称为“端粒” 。
端粒会保护染色体两端，随着每次细胞分裂，染色体两端会缩短 。科学家们认为这种缩短的过程会导致细胞分解死亡 。他们指出，这是导致衰老的原因 。
爱尔兰都柏林大学生物学家艾玛·泰琳（Emma Teeling）是该研究的主要负责人之一 。
科学家们的发现表明，这些蝙蝠的细胞拥有维持和修复自身端粒的能力 。科学家们表示，这有助于防止衰老 。
根据体型大小，大鼠耳蝠这类蝙蝠的预期寿命为4年 。但是人们发现，这些哺乳动物的寿命远超预期寿命近10倍 。
科学家们发现，考虑到体型大小因素，只有19种哺乳动物物种的寿命比人类长，其中18种为蝙蝠 。另外的一种是不常见的非洲啮齿动物裸鼹鼠 。